Higher Education and academic research
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Higher Education and academic research
Higher education and academic/non-profit research in the world
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Skewed rankings

Female researchers avoid collaborating with lower-ranked female colleagues.

Female full professors are less likely than men to co-author papers with assistant professors of the same sex, finds a study (J. F. Benenson et al. Curr. Biol. 24, R190–R191; 2014). Study authors calculated the expected co-author combinations for papers published from 2008 to 2011 by psychologists at 50 US and Canadian universities. They found 14 pairings of senior and junior women, compared with the expected 29, and 76 pairings of senior and junior men, compared with the expected 61. Women's tendency to pair with another woman of the same rank impedes their academic mobility, says co-author Joyce Benenson of Emmanuel College in Boston, Massachusetts. (...) - Nature 507, 265 (2014), 12 March 2014

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Science funding must be at the heart of the UK's economic strategy

Science funding must be at the heart of the UK's economic strategy | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Britain is in a global race for science investment and we can't afford to slip behind

The chancellor of the exchequer is very supportive of science: he has identified it as a "personal priority". That is good news for the science community in the UK, but why has a politician who studied history got such an interest and belief in science? Do his words translate into effective actions, and what will they mean for the economy? (...) - by Paul Nurse, The Observer via The Guardian, 1 March 2014

 

 

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What if your research is used to draw conclusions you never intended?

What if your research is used to draw conclusions you never intended? | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Peter McPhee is unconvinced by a forensic analysis of the French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre that cites his own research. (...) - by Peter McPhee, The Guardian, 11 February 2014

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Young scientists globally need more funding, resources

Early career scientists have the intellectual ability needed to develop strong national research and innovation systems, but funding shortages and lack of resources and support are major obstacles hindering their careers, says a report by the Global Young Academy.

The academy, which brings together early career scientists to discuss global research issues and work on international projects, released a pilot reportof their Global State of Young Scientists, or GloSYS, project last month at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. (...) - University World News, by Munyaradzi Makoni, 07 February 2014 Issue No:306

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Read and download the report here : http://fr.slideshare.net/julien_hering/the-global-state-of-young-scientists-report-2014

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U.K. Scientists Welcome New Policy on Animal Research

Government will "encourage" reductions in animal use but won't set limits.

LONDON—The number of live animals used in the United Kingdom for scientific research will not be capped, the British government announced today. Instead, a policy document unveiled this morning says the government will only "encourage" researchers to use alternatives whenever possible. The number of animal experiments has been on the rise in recent years in the United Kingdom, as it has in many other countries. (...) - by Katia Moskvitch, 7 February 2014, Science

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UK visa problems worry scientists

UK visa problems worry scientists | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Immigration policies scare off foreign talent, warn critics.

 

The United Kingdom’s increasingly tough stance on immigration is driving foreign scientists to competing nations, the academic community has warned.

At a meeting with the Home Office last month, representatives of leading universities and scientific organizations said that unwelcoming government rhetoric about reducing immigration, together with complicated visa procedures for visiting researchers, make Britain an unattractive destination for scholars. (...) - by Daniel Cressey, Nature, 04 February 2014

 

 

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A Metric for the Quality of Peer Review: Interview with Adam Etkin of PreSCORE

A Metric for the Quality of Peer Review: Interview with Adam Etkin of PreSCORE | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Adam Etkin describes the workings and rationale for scoring papers and journals based on the rigor of peer review they received prior to publication.

Peer review–the process whereby new results are scrutinized by competent peers before publication–forms the heart of most scientific journals.

In recent months, investigations and allegations have questioned what some journals consider to be a “peer” and what exactly constituted a “review.” The scrutiny received by manuscripts can be so varied across journals, that the term “peer review” may hold very little value in itself. For some journals, the phrase has been used to make entirely false pretenses about what takes place between submission and publication. (...) - the scholarly kitchen by Phil Davis, February 4, 2014

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The Market for Social Sciences and Humanities Publications

The Market for Social Sciences and Humanities Publications | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

A recent research report from Simba Information analyzes the market for publications in the social sciences and humanities.

Dan Strempel of Simba Information has kindly made available to me Simba’s recent report on the market for social sciences and humanities (SSH) publications, Global Social Science & Humanities Publishing 2013-2014. There are not many encouraging signs in this study for publishers, but it’s worthwhile to review the numbers and the structure of the market, some of which may be surprising to many readers. (...) - By Joseph Esposito, blog 'the scholarly kitchen', January 28, 2014

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Denmark: Universities feel stabbed in the back by minister

Over the Christmas period Morten Østergaard, Denmark’s minister for science, innovation and higher education, told a leading newspaper there were far too many courses at universities and the number would be significantly cut. There have also been challenges to the university funding system. Universities have now struck back.

Since 1990 there has been a four-fold increase in the number of bachelor degrees offered by Danish universities. (...) - University World News, by Jan Petter Myklebust, 24 January 2014 Issue No:304

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Putin Decree Shakes Up Russian Science Funding

Putin Decree Shakes Up Russian Science Funding | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

In another blow to the once-dominant Russian Academy of Sciences, the science ministry makes all funding competitive, possibly starving academy institutes.

President Vladimir Putin last week signed a clutch of decrees that could have a profound effect on science in Russia. One stipulates that all state research funding should be distributed via a competitive grants system. Previously, research institutes received government support to cover things such as upkeep of buildings and utility bills, but that could now stop, as will the government’s so-called state targeted programs, which single out certain areas for direct financial support. (...) - by Vladimir Pokrovsky, Science, 22 January 2014

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A New Funding Model for Scientists

A New Funding Model for Scientists | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

What scientist hasn’t dreamed of spending less time getting funding and more time doing research?

The current academic funding system, which allocates public money to researchers based on the submission and peer review of countless research proposals, has served science well—but some people believe that the time has come to find more efficient ways to distribute the money. Among them is a group of scientists at the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, Bloomington who proposed a new funding model in an article published last week in EMBO reports. (...) - by Elisabeth Pain, Science, January 13, 2014

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Ireland lines up grants

Irish fellowships aim to retain and reclaim early-career female researchers.

The Irish government plans to launch one- and two-year postdoctoral fellowships, worth up to €185,000 (US$252,000) each, to prompt early-career female researchers to stay in or return to the scientific workforce after childcare or other breaks. Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in Dublin will announce the 20 or so Advance Fellowship grants by June, says Elena Martines, the SFI's scientific programme officer. Currently, 35% of SFI-funded Irish postdocs and 20% of SFI-funded academic researchers are women, says Martines. “This is a very bold programme,” she says, noting that few similar initiatives exist. (...) - Nature 505, 445 (2014), 15 January 2014

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Business Gains Drive Higher R&D Spending in U.S.

Business Gains Drive Higher R&D Spending in U.S. | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

But revised NSF data point to rough times for academic researchers.

The U.S. research ship is righting itself after going through some stormy seas, according to data from the National Science Foundation (NSF). But the latest picture of overall R&D spending in the United States shows two divergent trends: High-tech companies are steaming ahead after rebounding from the 2008 recession, while the end of the massive stimulus spending begun in 2009 has left academic researchers facing increasingly choppy waters.(...) - Science, by Jeffrey Mervis, 13 January 2014

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How to Level the Playing Field for Women in Science

How to Level the Playing Field for Women in Science | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

The "baby penalty" in academe could be eased with four key reforms.

 

The good news: Many more women than ever before are completing Ph.D.’s in the sciences. Back in 2000, when I was appointed the first female dean of the graduate division at the University of California at Berkeley, I was delighted to learn that about half of the incoming doctoral students in the biological sciences—and more than 30 percent in heavily male fields like chemistry and engineering—were women. However, I also noticed that in most of the science departments where young women were eagerly enrolling, very few of the faculty members were female. (...) - The Chronicle of Higher Education, by Mary Ann Mason, March 3, 2014

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When technology shifts the academic balance

When technology shifts the academic balance | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

William Gunn is head of academic outreach for Mendeley.

This may appear as a mysterious occupation to some. According to his official biography on Mendeley, this involves spending “a good deal of time writing blog posts, essays, technical papers, presentations, and in general contributing to interesting conversations happening across academia and the tech community.” (...) - Euroscientist Webzine, February 26th, 2014

 

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The abuses of research evaluation

The famous Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities, in which French institutions have not covered themselves in glory, made quite an impact when it was launched on the media and academic world in 2003. Since then, the debates around the various rankings of higher education institutions have continued.

Last August the French minister of research commented on this annual ranking, noting that French universities were slowly climbing the ladder, according to France Info– without explaining what that really meant in academic terms. (...) - University World News, by Yves Gingras, 07 February 2014 Issue No:306

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Essex: University set for leading role in £5m ’big data’ project

Essex: University set for leading role in £5m ’big data’ project | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

The University of Essex is to play a leading role in a “big data” project which aims to help policymakers make better use of information collected by businesses and local government organisations. (...) - by Duncan Brodie, EDTA24, February 7, 2014

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Rachel Aviv: The Scientist Who Took on a Leading Herbicide Manufacturer

Rachel Aviv: The Scientist Who Took on a Leading Herbicide Manufacturer | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Tyrone Hayes, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, has devoted the past fifteen years to studying the herbicide atrazine, which is applied to more than half the corn in the country. During that time scientists around the world have expanded on his findings, suggesting that the herbicide is associated with birth defects in humans as well as in animals. Company documents show that while Hayes was studying atrazine, Syngenta, the agribusiness firm which had originally asked him to conduct experiments on the herbicide, was studying him, as he had suspected for years. Syngenta’s notes reveal that the company’s employees struggled for years to make sense of him. (...) - The New Yorker, by Rachel Aviv, February 10, 2014

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Elsevier opens its papers to text-mining

Researchers welcome easier access for harvesting content, but some spurn tight controls.

Academics: prepare your computers for text-mining. Publishing giant Elsevier says that it has now made it easy for scientists to extract facts and data computationally from its more than 11 million online research papers. Other publishers are likely to follow suit this year, lowering barriers to the computer-based research technique. But some scientists object that even as publishers roll out improved technical infrastructure and allow greater access, they are exerting tight legal controls over the way text-mining is done. (...) - by Richard Van Noorden, Nature, 03 February 2014

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U.N. Scientific Advisory Board Inaugurated in Berlin

U.N. Scientific Advisory Board Inaugurated in Berlin | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Panel may come up with follow-up for the Millennium Development Goals.

BERLIN—What do Malaysia's chief science adviser, Abdul Hamid Zakri; Barbadian historian Hilary Beckles; and Italian nuclear physicist Fabiola Gianotti have in common? They all serve on the United Nations' new Scientific Advisory Board, which was inaugurated this morning at the German Federal Foreign Office in the presence of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. (...) - by Kai Kupferschmidt, Science, 30/01/2014

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NIH Takes Steps to Improve Reproducibility

NIH Takes Steps to Improve Reproducibility | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Agency leaders discuss a series of pilot projects in Nature commentary.

For the last few years, concerns have been growing in the biomedical research community that many animal studies can’t be reproduced in other labs. The problem has frustrated industry researchers and raised questions about the basis for some clinical trials. Today, in a comment in Nature, leaders at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) discuss several efforts to improve the reproducibility of preclinical research. (...) - by Jocelyn Kaiser, Science, 27 January 2014

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U.S. Political Scientists Relieved That Coburn Language Is Gone

U.S. Political Scientists Relieved That Coburn Language Is Gone | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

NSF will revert to traditional criteria in reviewing proposals in political science.

The 2014 spending bill that the U.S. Congress passed last week renders moot part of Justin Esarey’s recent grant application to the National Science Foundation (NSF). But Esarey, an assistant professor of political science at Rice University in Houston, Texas, couldn’t be happier.

Esarey was one of hundreds of researchers who tweaked their pending proposals to accommodate a directive from Congress that any awards made by NSF’s division of political science must foster national security or economic development. The language, crafted by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), was adopted last March as an amendment to a bill setting out NSF’s 2013 budget. (Like most policy “riders” to appropriations bills, it applied only to that fiscal year.) (...) - Science, by Jeffrey Mervis, 2014-01-23

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Final 2014 Budget Helps Science Agencies Rebound

A $1.1 trillion spending plan for 2014 that Congress is expected to approve this week is getting mixed reviews from research advocates. They are applauding budget increases awarded to many agencies that fund the physical sciences, including NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy. But biomedical lobbyists are less enthusiastic about a $1 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health, saying it goes only partway to undoing the damage caused by the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration made in 2013. (...) - by Jeffrey Mervis, Science, 17 January 2014

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Communication: Spontaneous scientists

Communication: Spontaneous scientists | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Some think that researchers can improve their communication by flexing their improvisation skills.

A circle of scientists is gazing skyward, as if watching a ball fly through the air as they play an animated game of catch. But there is no ball — and this game is serious work. It is part of an exercise to help 12 scientists at the University of Connecticut (UConn) Health Center in Farmington to boost their communication skills. (...) - by Rachel Bernstein, Nature 505, 121-123 (2014), 01 January 2014

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U.S. Science Agencies Get Some Relief in 2014 Budget

U.S. Science Agencies Get Some Relief in 2014 Budget | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Physical science wins bigger increases than biomedical research.

The ghost of former President George W. Bush permeates the 2014 budget that Congress released last night.  His presence is good news for physical scientists, but less cheery for biomedical researchers, as Congress reserved some of the biggest spending increases for NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE). The National Institutes of Health (NIH), meanwhile, got a $1 billion increase that is drawing mixed reviews from research advocates. (...) - Science, by Jeffrey Mervis, 14 January 2014

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